Kids learning to ride

Andy Arhelger <> wrote:

>My younger boy sort of wanted to learn on his own like I did without my help
>but gave up early. I have spent some time with him but he doesn’t want to spend
>the time to learn. I took turns at the beginning working with each of them and
>the older boy progressed faster. The young one got discouraged and has pretty
>much given up. I think he will learn eventually but I have found you can’t make
>him do it.

>Now for my 2 year old daughter…

If I remember correctly, the youngest rider on record is 18 month old Nini Hall,
daughter of the great Mell Hall. She made her unicycling debut in a circus,
wearing diapers. I don’t know the extent of her riding at that time, but I do
know that the learning curve gets steeper as the rider gets younger. Mel must
have spent a great deal of time and patience on the project. In later years, he
taught orangutans (?) to ride unicycles, and there is a picture of one in an
issue of the USA Newsletter from '81 or '82.

>From my experience, it seems that people generally learn the fastest between
the ages of 10 and 25 or so. As riders get younger, their learning time
increases, and is much longer for riders age 6 or less. Much of the learning
time is related to the rider’s pre-existing skills (do they do dance,
gymnastics, or other balance activities?). Riders over the age of 25 or so tend
to me more cautious and more analytical in their approach. Sometimes they
“think” too much, and they are even afraid of falling down!

It would be interesting to learn how long people took to learn to ride, at what
age, and on what type of unicycle. For instance, I was 14, it took me between 3
and 5 weeks to be able to ride down my driveway in a straight line, and my
unicycle was a piece of junk Headstrom with a solid plastic tire an no bearings.
The unicycle is definitely a factor in the learning process. Another
consideration would be whether or not the unicycle fit you well.

What were YOUR learning experiences?

John Foss, IUF president

Re: Kids learning to ride

You asked about other peoples experience learing to ride, well here is mine: I
always wanted a uni so when I saw a used one for sale recently I bought it.
Unfortunately I did not know what I do now, from reading the list and the home
page, but I bought the used Norco anyway - for $35 CA! Well as you probably know
it has a terrible seat and is to small for my 5’10 frame but that was not going
to stop me! Without any idea where to start I tried riding it in my back yard
using two parallel clothes lines for support. Well not a good idea - as the
grass is too soft or lumpy and I had to shorten my clothes lines as I managed to
stretch them (oddley enough). Next is was to the driveway and with only a helmet
for protection I managed to rip the skin of both my knees! So I got nee pads,
elbow pads and gloves. So how did I do? Well I’ll be 34 on June 2, and after
about 30 hrs I could ride down the street with some minor control over my
direction. I still needed a wall to start and was still subject to random
dismounts. At about 40 hrs I can free start on the first attempt about 85% of
the time, can turn much better, have much less random dismounts and when I do I
can almost always land on my feet and catch the uni. As I am a juggler as well I
plan to be able to juggle on the uni. Now the Norco is a pretty brutal uni so I
have contacted the Canadian dealer in Toronto and with any luch I should be
riding a new Semcycle in about 3 weeks! I love riding the Norco even though it
is small, painful and exhausting and from what I’ve been reading I will be on
cloud nine on the Semcycle. Well thats my story, I have left out the part when I
tried to ride in my basement using ski poles as although funny, didn’t really
help! I enjoy this list and hope my vote helps to form the rec.unicyling group.

I hope this did’nt bore anyone as I intend to keep you all posted with
my progress.

Carl. (Mime mail should be sent to

Carl from Sunny Shilo Manitoba Canada
H: (204) 765-4409 W: (204) 765-3731 Fax: (204) 765-3803